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Lowering heart rate with an optimised breathing protocol for prospectively ECG-triggered CT coronary angiography.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2011
Author Husmann L, Herzog B A, Pazhenkottil A P, Buechel R R, Nkoulou R, Ghadri J R, Valenta I, Burger I A, Gaemperli O, Wyss C A, Kaufmann P A,
Project Entwicklung einer neuen Hybrid-Bildgebungs-Methode zur nicht invasiven kardialen Diagnostik
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal The British journal of radiology
Volume (Issue) 84(1005)
Page(s) 790 - 5
Title of proceedings The British journal of radiology
DOI 10.1259/bjr/29696915


OBJECTIVES The aim was to prospectively characterise the effect of the level of breath-hold on heart rate in CT coronary angiography (CTCA) with prospective electrocardiogram (ECG) triggering and its impact on coronary artery attenuation. METHODS 260 patients (86 women; mean age 59 ± 11 years) underwent 64-slice CTCA using prospective ECG triggering. Prior to CTCA, heart rates were recorded during 15 s of breath-hold at three different levels of inspiration (normal, intermediate and deep). The inspiration level with the lowest heart rate was chosen for actual CTCA scanning. Coronary artery attenuation was measured, and the presence of backflow of contrast material into the inferior vena cava (as an indicator of increased intrathoracic pressure) was recorded. RESULTS The mean heart rate at breath-hold was significantly different for the three inspiration levels (normal, 60 ± 8 bpm; intermediate, 59 ± 8 bpm; deep, 57 ± 7 bpm; p<0.001). The maximum heart rate reduction in each patient at breath-hold averaged 5.3 ± 5.1 bpm, and was observed at a normal inspiration depth in 23 (9%) patients, at an intermediate inspiration depth in 102 (39%) patients and at deep inspiration in 135 (52%) patients. Overall, there was no association between the level of breath-hold and coronary vessel attenuation (p-value was not significant). However, the backflow of contrast material into the inferior vena cava (n = 26) was found predominantly at deep inspiration levels (p<0.001), and, when it occurred, it was associated with reduced coronary attenuation compared with patients with no backflow (p<0.05). CONCLUSION The breath-hold level to best reduce heart rate for CTCA should be individually assessed prior to scanning because a mean heart rate reduction of 5 bpm can be achieved.